So the media is all in uproar today over the election of 2019. Multiple articles have talked about a big blue wave and how Democrats have stepped in to take over. There are some lessons to learn from this election, but it’s not as the media would paint the picture.
I ran across this article at CNN which I completely expected. Yes, Virginia has an interesting demographic makeup that cause us to want to look at this state closely to help us focus toward 2019. CNN and the rest of the left will label this as a big win for Democrats, but I would urge some caution here.
You really have to go back and look at the numbers and what has happened. Historically, the party in that may be in the minority of power seems to have a stronger turnout than the party that is in power. This helps explain the push by President Trump to encourage voters to get out and vote in places like Kentucky.
One of the races that CNN used in it’s article was that of Virginia Delegate Tim Hugo, from Fairfax County. The district that he represented was the one that included Arlington, Alexandria and areas surrounding Washington, DC. This area is full of registered Democrats, so it would not be surprising that the area flipped to Democrats. But how it did was the real story.
In 2011, Hugo was elected with 11,565 votes out of 15,661 ballots cast. Up until 2017, Hugo did not face any competition in a reelection battle. The highest voter turnout in any election before 2017 was 24,842 in 2013 and Hugo won carrying 14,887 votes. But in 2017 and 2019, voter turnout was much higher in his district.
Delegate Hugo had consistent numbers across his elections. For example, in 2017 he had 15,110 votes and in 2019 he had 14,451 votes. Several times he carried well over 14,000 votes. In 2017, he only won reelection by 106 votes with one of the highest voter turnouts on record. In 2019, the voter turnout was even higher at 30,383, and Hugo lost.
So I don’t think this necessarily shows that Democrats are gaining on Republican voters. It does give insight for Republicans however going into 2020. First, Republicans must energize the voters to actually go out and vote. During the Bush Administration, Hugo faced close reelection battles with Democratic challengers, but he was able to hold them off as voter turnout was around 15,000. When voter turnout increases due to excitement as the Democrats had, it creates challenges if the opposing party is not just as excited.
I don’t believe this election gives us any indications that the voters focus has necessarily transitioned. Republican candidates performed well in many states. Even the close Kentucky race was to be expected with the GOP governors popularity.
This election gives a clear guideline for President Trump and Republicans, however. The key to the 2020 election is voters going to the polls. Voters do not simply want a Republican candidate, as was seen in Kentucky. Voters want an engaged candidate that is interested in addressing issues. This is why President Trump won in 2016 and continues to be a driving force behind US politics.
If Trump supporters vote, he will be reelected. If Democrats continue this level of excitement, the election will be close. In the end, Republicans will need to be active and engaged going into 2020 if they want to see Trump back in office for four more years.
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